Friday, November 27 , 2015, 5:27 pm | Fair 57º

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute Honors Retiring Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Lois Jovanovic

Dr. Lois Jovanovic, left, receives the prestigious William D. Sansum Award for Excellence in Science during last Friday’s meeting of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute Board of Trustees.
Dr. Lois Jovanovic, left, receives the prestigious William D. Sansum Award for Excellence in Science during last Friday’s meeting of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute Board of Trustees.  (Sansum Diabetes Research Institute photo)

By Erinn Lynch for the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute |

The Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has announced that after more than 25 years with the institute, Dr. Lois Jovanovic will retire as chief scientific officer.

Dr. Jovanovic will continue working with the institute on a part-time basis as a physician consultant.

Last Friday, in recognition of her pioneering work in gestational diabetes, the Board of Trustees awarded Dr. Jovanovic with the prestigious William D. Sansum Award for Excellence in Science. The award was presented by Jacqueline Wiley, a former patient of  Dr. Jovanovic in the 1980s who went on to become a certified clinical research coordinator with the institute.

"Dr. Jovanovic's lifelong dedication to helping women prepare for healthy pregnancies and preventing diabetes in infants has literally changed the lives of millions of women and children worldwide," said Dr. Robert Nagy, institute board president. "We are extremely grateful for her commitment and vision and pleased she will remain part of the institute."

Dr. Jovanovic, a specialist in endocrinology and metabolism, has dedicated her life to diabetes research and education. She joined the institute in 1986 and was promoted to chief scientific officer in 1996. During her tenure with Sansum, Dr. Jovanovic established the institute as a world leader in the field of pregnancy complicated by diabetes. Through her research, she established diabetes and pregnancy protocols of intensive insulin delivery that have become the standard of care for all pregnant women with diabetes worldwide.

"I am very proud that any woman with a diagnosis of diabetes can have a healthy child," Dr. Jovanovic said. "The whole world is paying attention to the mathematical formulas that my colleagues and I have created to improved glucose control. We've shown a normal glucose means a normal outcome of pregnancy. If you can learn from a pregnant woman you can apply it to anyone with diabetes."

In addition, her work in the field of intensified insulin management and glucose monitoring for people with diabetes has led to her work on the artificial pancreas.

Dr. Jovanovic, an extraordinary teacher and mentor to aspiring physicians, has authored more than 500 books and scientific articles. She is an internationally acclaimed speaker and has presented her research at congresses throughout the world.

Some of Dr. Jovanovic's key contributions to the field of diabetes include:

» Demonstrating that women with diabetes have the same chance of having a healthy baby as women without diabetes if they maintain near-normal blood sugar levels before and throughout pregnancy.

» Work with the original Glucose-Controlled Insulin Infusion System (Biostator) in labor and delivery, a prototype for current work on the artificial pancreas.

» Creating a Pocket Doc insulin dosage calculator in the 1980s.

» Co-investigator of the landmark Diabetes In Early Pregnancy study and the Diabetes Control and Complications trial.

As a part-time physician consultant, Dr. Jovanovic's will continue to focus on diabetes and pregnancy including research, education and clinical mentorship at the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. She will also work with institute Executive Director Rem Laan to develop new diabetes in pregnancy programs that will keep Sansum Diabetes Research Institute at the forefront of this important though underserved area of research. Dr. Jovanovic requests that any donations in her honor be made to Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.

— Erinn Lynch is a publicist representing the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.

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